5 Bad Morning Habits that Are Destroying Your Productivity

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A great morning often leads to a great day. I’ve written before about How to Create a Morning Routine that Honors Christ, but sometimes we sabotage our morning routine before we even throw off the covers. I’ve found that on the mornings when I avoid these five bad habits my day has a much higher probability of success.

1. Checking Your Phone

Most of us sleep with our phones near us, usually charging. Of course, we have our reasons for this. We have a ready flashlight in case we need to get up in the night, or if there’s an emergency call we are more likely to hear the phone ring, and our phones often double as our alarm clock, too. But leaving your phone on the nightstand also tends to lead to this bad morning habit.

Studies have shown that 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. That’s a problem. It essentially means you are starting your day asking to be overwhelmed. Whether it’s social media, text, email, or whatever it is you’re eager to check, it’s more than likely going to add stress, distract you from your morning routine, or otherwise take you down a rabbit hole of time-wasting.

So, skip checking your phone first thing. Better yet, charge it somewhere far away from you so you don’t have to face a temptation the second you wake up each morning.

2. Hitting Snooze

Waking up on time is essential for a good morning routine. I’m a big fan of waking up early and thankfully have made my bedtime and waketime consistent enough that I no longer need an alarm clock. But when I do have to use an alarm clock, I avoid the snooze button like the plague. Those five extra minutes come at a hefty price.

Hitting snooze means beginning your day with failure. That sounds harsh, but it’s true. You wanted to wake up at 6:30 but your flesh said, “No, thanks” and you gave in. That’s not a great way to start off a successful day.

If you need more sleep, set your alarm later, or go to bed earlier. But I think it’s very unwise to train yourself to not get up when you intended to.

3. Skipping Time with God

The most productive thing you can do in the morning is to open the Word of God and take time in prayer. It reorients your priorities, calms your heart, and begins your day with honoring and fellowshipping with the God you love.

It is a mistake, therefore, to skip this noble routine. And from experience, I can tell you checking your phone and hitting the snooze button are often the culprits for making sure I “don’t have enough time” to read the Word. So, prioritize it and don’t let other things push it to the side.

4. Forgetting to Hydrate

This is just plain practical. God designed our brains and bodies to need water to function optimally. And we lose a massive amount of water while we sleep. So one of the best things to do when you first wake up is down a glass of water or two.

When we skip this step, our brains are foggier and we are less likely to exercise as well. For me, drinking a tall glass of water is the very first thing I do when I wake up.

5. Not Planning Your Day

Imagine you’re part of a football team. The quarterback calls you and the rest of the team over for a huddle. You ask, “What’s the play?” And the QB responds with, “Eh, I think let’s just wing this one.”

How successful do you think that down would be?

Well many of us effectively do the same thing with our days. We begin the day with no plan whatsoever. We don’t have a desired outcome or a set of tasks we want to accomplish. Then when we end our days feeling unproductive we wonder why we feel that way.

Those days when I feel like my day was just so unproductive, more often than not I look back and find that I never made a plan for the day. Just taking 10 minutes to look ahead at your calendar, write down one or two things you need to get done, or just having a goal for the day will do wonders for making your days more successful.


The secret to a productive day is a productive morning. Avoiding these common morning pitfalls will increase your likelihood of success.

What bad morning habits sabotage your day?

Join the discussion

  • Thank you for the excellent info, especially the reminder about the phone and how that can keep us from our time with God

  • Dear Reagan Rose

    Thank you so much for this blog and podcast.

    As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom I used to think that I didn’t need to plan. After all, life is easy, I’m just at home, like one long holiday. But I soon discovered that it takes more self dissipline and planning to make it work than for someone who has a job outside the home. There is no pressure from outside (like office hours, a boss and a school bell) that forces one into motion. You have to force yourself. And shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, laundry organizing the home, schooling the teens, etc, is hard work. And it’s a lot of work. It’s really hard to find time to read a book or have a hobby or exercise. If one does not prioritize and plan properly, you just don’t get things done.

    And yes, the smartphone with social media draws one into rabbit holes of time wasting.

    So I’m following your advice a it is helping me a lot.

    Please keep on blogging and podcasting!


    Lara Bands
    South Africa.

  • I appreciate how these are each couched as bad habits to give up. Quitting a bad habit somehow seems more doable than establishing a new good habit. #2 did seem harsh, but I found the phrasing and the shift in mindset to be effective. While I usually struggle with the snooze button, this morning my pride would not let me start with failure.

  • 6. QUIT WATCHING THE NEWS first thing, before spending time with God. Infuse yourself with Him first. Give Him the first-fruits of your day. Then when you tune in to see what’s going on in the world, your heart will not be vulnerable to Satan’s attack of discouragement and depression and you will see it through His eyes.

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